Ministry of Defense bears down on national defense awareness

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The Ministry of Defense will soon open registration for the Komcad Training Program for the general public. (Photo: Prive. Doc)

IO, Jakarta – Threats to national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the safety of citizens – what the military refers to as “strategic environments” – are real. Law No. 3/2002 stated that threats may be comprised of both military and non-military ones. Therefore, we need a defense strategy that involves all defense resources or national resources under the Government’s command.

Director General of Defense Potential (Potensi Pertahanan – “Pothan”) Prof. Bondan Tiara Sofyan stated that the above three ideals must be championed through National Defense, and that it is our common responsibility. When a military threat occurs, the Indonesian Armed Forces (“TNI”) becomes the Primary Component (Komponen Utama – “Komtama”) of national defense with the help of Reserve Components (Komponen Cadangan – “Komcad”) and Support Components (Komponen Pendukung – “Komduk”). However, if a non-military threat occurs, the Ministry or Agency in charge shall be the Primary Component or the Komtama, with the support of TNI. “The spirit or base of it all is national defense,” she said in a discussion titled “The Universal Citizen Defense System: Philosophy and Practices” held in the Media Office of the Ministry of Defense in Jakarta on Thursday (20/02/2020). The discussion was also attended by the Head of the PR Bureau, General Secretary of Ministry of Defense Army Brig. Gen. Totok Sugiharto and the Dirsumdahan of the Ministry of Defense’s Directorate General of Defense Potential, Army Brig. Gen. Priyanto.

Bondan Tiara further stated that as the conceptual root, “national defense” here signifies “attitude” and “behavior”, or a non-physical level. Citizens can participate in national defense through Guidance of National Defense Awareness (Pembinaan Kesadaran Bela Negara – “PKBN”), which in turn can be manifested through civics education, basic military training (latihan dasar militer – “latsarmil”), or they become part of TNI and devote themselves, according to their professions. “The PKBN Program must not end here; it is a never-ending process. We must provide a counter-narrative against insidious ideologies that others broadcast,” he said.

According to Bondan Tiara, the recruitment of civilians in Komcad refers to Law No. 23 of 2019 concerning the Management of National Resources (Pengelolaan Sumber Daya Nasional – “PSDN”) for National Defense, which is currently in a final discussion stage at the State Secretariat. She hopes that the socialization can start in March 2020, and that latsarmil can start immediately after Eid-el-Fitr of 2020. “The Komcad program, which involves civilians in state defense, is not the State’s effort to organize a conscript, but to organize mobilization of citizens whenever the State is in great danger, as announced by the President, with the approval of the House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Republik Indonesia – “DPR RI”),” he explained.

Registration is Open
The Ministry of Defense will soon open registration for the Komcad Training Program for the general public. Komcad recruitment is open and voluntary, but there are requirements for anyone who wants to join the program. “Komcad is not a military draft. It is meant to strengthen the Komtama, i.e. the TNI. It is voluntary for anyone healthy at an age of 18-35 years,” Bondan Tiara said.

People who participate in Komcad cannot be dismissed from their original jobs during its 3-month-long latsarmil. After they register in the Komcad program, they must still undergo a selection process. If they satisfy requirements set by the Ministry of Defense, they have the right to participate in military training, and if they pass, to be appointed as Komcad. Afterwards, they can return to their original profession. These participants will be getting basic military skills, pocket money, individual equipment, health benefits and insurance coverage. Bondan Tiara expects that the program will be attended by 25,000 participants. However, she did not set any deadlines for achieving this target, as it will depend on the availability of budget. She hopes that citizens, especially the young, will participate in the training program. “We get through to millennials through social media, right? We will hold campaigns in these platform – “Indonesia Calls for Reserve Components” – something like that,” she said. “We can mobilize them under the President’s directives. The idea is for them to help national defense in cases of danger and emergency, which shall be declared by the President and approved by DPR. That’s how we will use it.”

Minister of Defense’s Special Staff in Public Communication and Inter-Agency Relations Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak stated that this activity is an effort to reduce the gap of understanding the idea of “national defense” existing between the media and the Ministry of Defense, Army Headquarters, and the Army Division Headquarters. “Therefore, our hope is that media workers in the future will be more wiser and discreet in processing the information that is meant to be published,” he said.  (Dan)